I think sometimes its easier to be the one leaving. You're headed off to new adventures after all. But it's hard to stay behind.
It's nice to be honored for your accomplishments, lauded for all you've done, recognized for all of you contributed. As our school board chairman, Ernie Lacorte is fond of saying, people always say nice things about you when you're leaving and when you're dead. But people don't usually have much to say about those who stay behind.
Being left behind is generally not a good thing. Some Christians worry about being "Left Behind." Our government wants to make sure "No Child is Left Behind." Soldiers promise to "leave no man behind." When all your friends are leaving, it's no fun to be the one who stays behind.
But sometimes someone has to stay on. They have to stay when it's not fun to do so, when it's hard to stay, when it hurts that everyone else is leaving. Someone has to say "No, you guys go on ahead. I'll stay behind," and then watch, buffeted by the bladewash as the rest of the team piles into the helicopter and flies away, leaving you alone. In the movies, the one who stays behind is the hero. But the movies don't show how hard, how scary it can be to be the One Who Stays Behind.
Mai Rhea Odiyar is my hero because she chose to stay behind. Her friends had to go of course, but she could have gone too. It would have been the easier thing. But instead she chose to stay the course, to stay on where she knew she was needed most. God called them to go. He asked her to stay.
Don't worry though, Mai. You won't be staying behind alone. God will be with you. And so will we.
Mai says good bye to the rest of the All Stars. Mai's not actually here in Saipan right now. This is a photo taken at her departure at the airport on Monday, June 4. She went back to Canada for the summer but will be back in Saipan at the end of July.